“We don’t know how to say this,”- started the man in the center of the panel. Directing his words to Jordan, he continued – “you really are a talented guitarist, Mr. Jordan. We haven’t seen anyone today, playing it as well as you did. But there is something missing. You are so perfect that it looks mechanical and at times artificial.” As an afterthought, he paused to look at the fellow panelist. They posed a look that seems to approve of what he feels about Jordan’s work. Relieved, he said – “To put it bluntly, it lacks character.”
“But I played it according to the notes. What else do you expect!” Jordon voice strained, as words spurt out at the same rate as his increasing pulse rate. Sensing it, Jordan retracted to the back of the seat, surprised as to how & when he reached the edge. His right hand was still on the table, which he had slammed moments ago.
“I am sorry Sirs, but can you elaborate on that?” Jordan said, rephrasing his previous remark.
“Mr. Jordan, we are in search of someone who will add value to the opportunity that Trinity is giving. We want someone who will propel the music field to the next level. I am sorry; we are not able to see you in that path.”
As Jordan came out of the interview hall, he saw Kylie running towards him. She looked overtly happy. As she came near him, she slowed down, trying to control her excitement. But on seeing him smile at her, she lunged over him, only to be stopped by the cautious Jordan whose eyes were fixed on the professors, standing by.
Laughing at seeing her excitement, he said –“hold your horses; people are staring at us.”
“So what? I don’t care. I am the happiest girl in this world, thanks to my boyfriend and I want to share it with him.”
“Alright, go on; as long as I am part of this PDA” – he replied as he hugged her back. Releasing her from his arms, he quizzed - “Anyway, what is the good news?”
“Know what? I got it. I didn’t really think I was capable of getting it. They were like, asking me to play different styles and all, and I kept doing something quirky with the vibratos. Suddenly one of the panelists took out his violin & we jammed together. It was awesome, Jordon.” Taking a break to catch breath, she looked at his dreamy eyes and said – “I can’t wait for us to shift to London. We really are going to live our dream Jordan.”
But dreams don’t hurt as each word of hers did. London the city of his dream & Trinity the temple in his dream: 16 years of hard work down the drain. It was surprising though to see anger seething inside because of her. He closed his eyes trying to calm down, but couldn’t control the pain. Opening his eyes, he looked straight at her face and said – “I need to go now. Meet you in the apartment.”
The campus cafeteria was buzzing with activity, but Jordon chose to ignore the commotion & sat with his plate of sandwich. He took the knife in his right hand & fork in his left and systematically cut a piece. As he took the fork to his mouth he was hit on his back using a guitar; the fork apparently spiking his upper jaw. Jordon took his handkerchief and wiped the blood and saw to his dismay that Reo the guy who got selected by Trinity panelist was the culprit.
“Reo! Watch your space! I am bleeding here!” There wasn’t any response. In a fit of rage, Jordon walked towards him and yelled, ”Hey Reo I was calling you!”
Amidst laughter, Reo turned towards him and asked – “What? Why so?”
“You hit me Reo! Don’t you know manners at least to say sorry?”
In reply Reo said - “Sorry Jordon; I only know music” and burst into laughter.
It was darkness everywhere as Kylie entered the apartment. In another room, the tv was audible. It was talking about violence in the state university this afternoon. As her pupils dilated, she saw a figure sitting on floor, leaning to the front. She immediately reached for the lights only to find out that it was Jordon sitting in such an aberrant state. Relieved, she reached for the coach and sat there with her college backpack. As she started unpacking its content, she prodded - “I searched for you in the campus after you excused yourself. Why did you go away all of a sudden? That is unusual for you.”
“hmmm” – is all that came from Jordon. She looked up towards the place he was stationed. She couldn’t see his face as his lustrous hair had covered it completely.
“Jordon? I did learn about your interview. I really am sorry.” She waited for him to say something. But there wasn’t any sign. Puzzled, she took her backpack and went towards their bedroom. Once she was inside, a voice was heard – “so you are sorry – sorry for me.”
“Sorry for me. Sorry for me? So you are sorry for me since I didn’t get it. You are sorry that I wasn’t able to get it right?”
“Yah, Jordan. Why are you asking it repeatedly?”
“You are sorry that someone as good as me couldn’t get it, while you got it. You feel sorry that even will all my talent I couldn’t pass the muster, but you did! Am ‘I right you bitch?” – Jordon shrieked as he faced her for the first time.
“What? What did you say just now? Fuck what is wrong with you?”
“Now you find problems with me!”
“Shit; what has gotten into you?”
“You are the one who can’t tolerate your boyfriend now!”
“Yes, Jordon, this is the limit! Yes, I have problems with you! Wanna know? But you won’t understand! You know what? I really feel sorry for you; now. I feel sorry that you are incapable of understanding people. I feel sorry that you are covered from head to toe with jealously. I really feel sorry that deep down inside this cultured gentleman, you are an asshole. Do you know what really your problem is? You stink, Jordon! And do you know why you stink? It’s because you don’t let things out. Everything from appreciation to anger is kept locked inside till both decompose together and make you stink even more! I really am sorry for you and me! Good bye.”
The slamming of the door was the last sound that Jordon heard that night. His body picked himself up; went to the cupboard in the bedroom; took out a sleeping pill; placed the tablet strip back in its original place; drank water from a glass kept nearby; kept the glass at the exact same position as it was before; reached for the bed; closed the eyes mechanically.
There were four legs before him: essentially belonging to two people – a guy and a girl. Jordon was kneeling down before the pair as they looked at him – a sorry look appeared on their face.
“I really feel sorry for you Mr. Jordon.” The guy who had sat at the center earlier today, declared as he paced to & fro in front of him.
“Yah I feel sorry for you asshole.” Kylie chipped in. Jordon chose to ignore here; instead stared at the panelist – his eyes moving - fixated on him, as he kept circling on an imaginary path observing Jordon in return.
“What do you think of yourself Mr. Jordon? - the best guitarist in the world? I wish you good luck Mr.Jordon – that is what you need – luck, to become someone great.
“Don’t bite your teeth Mr. Jordon. I would like to hear your thoughts, your emotions, your intentions, your desires and hatred and not just the crunching sound of your distress.
“Speak out Mr. Jordon. Tell me you hate me a lot. Tell me how you feel now.
“I would like to beat you to death!” Jordon declared, averting glance from the panelist.
“Oh, really? Am impressed – you do speak after all. Anything else, Mr. Jordon?”
The eyes were now fixed on the wall facing him, intensifying every moment, oblivious to the continuous stare of the panelist -
“I wanna tear your mouth; use your teeth as my plectrum …” - and the eyes turned to find the panelist. Finding him, it propelled the body to lunge for him – “… stove shit in your caustic mouth pierce your eyes with your teeth and beat you to …”- to beat him.
In a swift motion, the panelist thrust a guitar on Jordon’s chest as he jumped to attack him.
“Your words are as shallow as your heart Mr. Jordon. Do you wanna attack me? Attack using this. Show me your anger, your aggression, your fierceness, your hatred, your perfection, using this.”
Jordon looked at the guitar like a novice. He really couldn’t conjure a tune to fit the situation. The panelist came close to his ears and said – “and this is why I said you don’t have it in you Mr. Jordon. You are at best a machine that can reproduce something that was fed into its system. Music is something that should come from within. It should define you; you should define it; your thoughts should mold it!” - saying that he walked out from the room.
As tears slid down from the reddish eyes of Jordon, Kylie came forward to kiss his eyes – “I really am sorry for you Jordon. Hope you realize what you should have known all along.”
Jordon woke up with teary eyes. He wanted to cry and scream at the same time; instead he chose to look for his guitar. He strummed the chords with his fingers to the only sound that came to his ears – the cry of his heart. But the sound it gave out wasn’t the same. The frustration catapulted. He tried different formats to bring out what is within him, but they were all bland – flat – cacophonous – inorganic. Tears rolled out of his eyes as he strained further. As it touched his lips, he remembered the kiss she gave him on his eyes, in his dream. Her charismatic presence, the aura around her, her angelic smile came to his mind. He remembered the way she used to practice violin in this very room; the swift movement of the bow & the intricate details that it produced combined with her oscillating fingers were the key features of her vibrato. As the notes in front of her rose and fell, so did her bow. Not only that, her fingers moved to and fro between the strings to produce that arresting tune. The fingers spoke volumes of her talent. The fingers spoke.
Then it hit him. Jordon placed his left hand on the G string. As he started strumming the chords with his right hand he pushed the G string towards D. Simultaneously pushed B string upwards. He pushed and pushed in every manner he felt was right – every manner he felt happy. He could hear his inner voice taking audible form. He played on till he could cry; he played on till he could laugh; he played on till he could scream; he played on till he could realize he invented rock.
Thank you yourshumbly for making me write this